Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Thoughts, thanks and water
Maegan here! My Monday started out bright as I traveled Via public transportation to Logan Airport. I arrive early to the gate, pass through with the classic thorough inspection of my baggage and meet the rest of the members of Berklee's NOLA 2008 group. I sit around, chatting with everyone, getting to know who, what and why they were all here. But as I explain my reasons I recall the out pouring of support that our small group received by email last week. I and the others here each received wonderful messages of well wishes, support and the hand of the Berklee community. This made me realize that although I was going as one of 15, that I was more than that. That I was representing the hope, well wishes and honor that we are trying to give to the people of New Orleans from a college up north. So as I prepared for my first day on the job I thought of the friends and colleagues in Berklee. I say that you, as much as me, are here as well. You are helping support the offices, the departments and the classes so we can be here. So I would like to return the well wishes and words of encouragement and say thank you for all the help you are giving the NOLA 2008 fifteen!
We arrived in New Orleans, happy to have finally arrived. After checking in we met in the lobby to all go out to eat and then explore the city. Going down the infamous Bourbon street we were greeted by jazz bar after jazz bar, with a little rock to shake things up a bit. Never having been to NOLA before, I can not say to the impact to the economy of this street. As it seems down here, you brace yourself up, brush yourself clean and continue as you were. It was no more apparent then on this street. There were hawkers for adult venues, Jazz bars and big *** beer to go. We were greeted by a man with mardi gras beads, struggling to survive, but earnestly cheerful and hopeful. After our exploring of the streets of the French Quarter, we said our good byes, being wise to the need to get up early the next day. I came away from the evening with respect for the citizens and hope that one day this city will return to its glory, though not the same, but hopefully better.
We had the first day and boy was it hot!!! We mostly subsisted on gatorade and water, with some sandwiches in between. But the heat was so worth it. The amount of devastation that is still present makes what we do that more important. Like after a brush fire, these Habitat homes and other private domiciles were like fresh foliage sprouting up and saying we can not be destroyed and we will survive!!! A group of us continued the work on "Miss Ruby's" house. Working from the rafters to the floor, we measured braces, did some demolition on support beams and hammered in "deadwood". Ably supervised by our Habitat staff person Ann, we continued through the day until we piled into the transportation and headed back to the hotel for that much earned shower and nap!